Update: Montclair Township Council Chambers will be open to residents Wednesday, October 31, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. so they may charge their mobile devices. The Montclair Municipal Building is located at 205 Claremont Avenue.
Baristanet sat in on an emergency town council meeting this afternoon at city hall, where council members discussed the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy:
“This is an epic event,” said Mayor Robert D. Jackson. “Eighty percent of Montclair is without power, and PSE&G has reported that it will take them 5-7 days to restore it.”
It’s a much worse situation than with Irene, according to Marc Dashield, the chief executive officer of the township of Montclair. Further comparing the two hurricanes that have hit Montclair over the last 14 months, Dashield said: “With Irene we had lots of branches all over town. With Sandy we have more entire trees down. And less than half of the town lost power.”
Council members are cautioning residents to stay inside, if possible. “Don’t drive or walk around unless necessary,” said Mayor Jackson. “There’s still some wind, and many trees and branches are in a weakened state from the storm and could fall.”
The council also urges residents to take extra care at intersections, where 50 trees block traffic across town. Numerous traffic signs were damaged by the storm, and traffic lights are out at seven intersections, including Valley/Watchung, Bellevue/Park, and Grove/Watchung. “Be extra observant when driving,” said Mayor Jackson. “I’ve seen people just go right through the intersections without stopping.”
Council members are particularly concerned about live wires, and caution that any wire could be a live wire. “If you’re walking around and there are lots of leaves on the ground, you may not see the wires,” said Dashield. “There are no reported injuries so far, and we want to keep it that way.”
During the meeting, the mayor, who is one of the 80 percent of residents without power, said: “I’m not happy with PSE&G. I haven’t see a single truck in Montclair today.” He added that police and fire workers also have not seen the trucks.
The council called into a PSE&G conference call, where the utility said although they haven’t yet been to Montclair, they’re working hard to fix the system, and must repair switching stations first. PSE&G said the latest number for NJ outages was 1.4 million.
Due to the after-effects of the storm, council members are postponing Halloween until this Saturday, 12-5pm. Said Dashield: “It’s just not safe to trick or treat.”
Following the meeting, Montclair Township released this Hurricane Sandy Update:
There are currently over 100 fallen trees in township roadways and Community Services crews have been out since early this morning clearing roadways and removing those trees that are not near downed power. PSE&G will need to see to felled trees near fallen wires since they may still be live.
More than 80% of the Township is without power. If you do not have power in your home, we ask that you notify PSE&G straight away by calling 1-800-436-7734.
The Montclair Police Department asks that you stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. There are many downed wires throughout the Township –– always assume they are live and stay clear of them.
Three major intersections are without traffic lights: Grove St. at Watchung Avenue, Bellevue Avenue at Park Street, and Valley Road at Watchung Avenue. We ask that you use extreme caution when approaching these and any other intersection that may be blocked or without traffic signals.
In addition, many stops signs were downed by strong winds. These are being replaced by temporary signs. Please use extreme caution at all intersections.
Township crews will be out all day today and tomorrow clearing the roads.